Friday, July 11, 2008

Lock Your Car Doors! Here Come the Zucchini!

First Zukes of the Season

I've been so busy caught up in the sweet fruit frenzy of blogging about apricot pie and ice cream, that I have fallen behind in my vegetable garden reports. Time to talk about some "hard core" summer veggies like zucchini, a type of summer squash.

While I was trying to think of a catchy title for this post, I remembered that my Mom, who grew up in New England, told me that up there the zucchini grew so prolifically that you had to lock your car doors otherwise your neighbors would fill your car with their extra zucchinis! Well, that's the story they tell up there in New England anyway. I've heard that story told about other parts of the US also, but I still think of my Mom when I think about growing zucchini.

Zucchini are usually very productive plants, and this season is starting out strong in my small garden. The photo above shows 1 1/4 lb each of dark green zucchini and my favorite light green Clarimore variety. I like the Clarimore for its beauty, but also for its mild tasting skin. I rarely peel zucchini. I prefer to eat them skins and all to get color and fiber in my meals. Both of these varieties of zuke came from the same seed packet. Renee's Garden Seeds offers packets that have 3 different kinds of zucchini in the same pack. Makes it very convenient to grow a few of each kind. I don't need more than 2 or 3 plants of each variety, so one pack of seeds works very well for me.

I also planted another variety of dark green zucchini from Peaceful Valley Garden Supply. So far it has not produced any edibles. I have faith that it will soon.

So today I had a vegetarian sandwich made with sourdough bread, lettuce, a slice of cheddar cheese and layers of very thinly sliced (I used my mandolin) light green raw zucchini. A little mayo, mustard and some seasoning, and it made a very tasty and nutrious lunch. If I had had a tomato in the house, I would have added a slice or two to the sandwich.

I was also busy later in the day turning another zucchini, this one much larger than those in the photo, into some delicious pureed zucchini soup. I got the soup zucchini as a gift from Hardware Bob, who received it as a gift from one of his customers. (he is always receiving gifts like that from his loyal customers)

This big zucchini was a dark green variety and weighed about 2 lbs! I peeled this one and then sauteed it with onions and garlic in olive oil and added in some vegetable broth and seasonings. I pureed it in the pot with one of those big immersion hand blenders and then finished the soup by stirring in a cup of rice milk. The recipe called for milk or cream, but I rarely have that around. I find that rice or soy milk works well. Today I actually added in a bit of half & half that I had left over from making ice cream the other day. It made for a delicious dinner. Satisfying yet light.

Zuke Soup ~ doesn't look like much in the photo, but tastes really good
(that's a garnish of fresh basil floating on top)

There are more zucchinis on the way! Lock your car doors....

© Copyright 2008 Mountain Harvest Basket


CaliforniaGrammy said...

I love that light green zucchini, I've never seen that variety. And what a great idea to package three varieties in one pack of seeds. Nobody needs more than a couple of each plant (I guess that depends on how many in the family— I shouldn't be so judgmental! It's just that there are just the two of us, the kids have been out of the house for nearly 15 years.) So thanks for the warning for those living nearby . . . Lock your car doors!

The soup sounds especially yummy.

Lulu Barbarian said...

Nice zucchini soup! Have you ever grown the Costata Romano variety of zucchini? It's an Italian heirloom. Not a very heavy producer (your neighbors won't need to lock their doors :-) but excellent flavor, sort of nutty.

Farmer Jen said...

Hi CA Grammy,
The pack of seeds includes my favorite light green, the standard dark green and a yellow variety. I am not so fond of the yellow and I only have so much space in my garden, so I didn't plant that one this year. The soup is good. Pretty easy to make too.

Hi Lulu,
Thanks for the soup praise.I do like to grow heirloom varieties in my veggie garden, but no, I have not tried Costata Romano zucchini yet. I will look for it in my seed catalogs next year. Thanks for telling me about it.

Hardware Bob said...

The soup looks very yummy,and I see why you were quite protective of your zucchini when I was eying them the other day in your kitchen.

Looks like the hefty boat motor (hand blender) I loaned you worked pretty good.It might also work good for trolling.

Gotta go lock my doors now.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

I really love zucchini...just barely steamed, still a bit crunchy, with grated parmesan cheese on top. Mmmmmm....
Your soup looks delicious, though, too. Is it a cold soup?

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Bob,
The soup is yummy. I saved some for both you and Jack to sample. The zucchinis that was showing off to you in my kitchen a few days ago were the ones in the photo on this post. I grew those in my own garden. I didn't use those in the soup as they are small and tender. Good for other uses, like stir fry or eating raw. As I mentioned in my post, I used the much bigger zuke that your customer gave you to make the soup.

Yes, your immersion blender worked to puree the soup, thanks for the loan, however I decided that I didn't care for the ergonomics of its particular design. Too fat to hold well in my hands. I have another brand that I am eyeing for when I decide I want one of my own. A slimmer model with a longer immersion wand. (I don't "troll")

Hi Danni,
I like zucchini many ways: steamed, boiled, baked, sauteed, and even raw. Also in zucchini bread. Yum! The soup is a fun way to use up a large squash that is too tough to eat the other ways. I like to serve and eat this soup warm, I think the flavor is best that way, but you could eat it cold too. Still tastes good.

Joggin Jack said...

I just finished a stir fry in which I included some of you zucchini. I had some chicken strips in the freezer and some swiss chard along with snow peas from your garden that I added to the stur fry. A splash of Trader Joe's reduced sodium soy sause gave it a nice flavor. Very good!! Thanks for the excelent produce.

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Jack,
I am so happy that you are enjoying my fresh garden veggies. Each one was grown with love and care. They are my "veggie babies". Your stir fry dinner sounds delicious! Thanks for commenting here. I appreciate hearing from you.